Why HealthTech Startups Engage in Public-Private Partnerships

April 25, 2023
HealthTech Startups

Bridging the gap to address today’s most pressing healthcare challenges will require interdisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPP). PPPs have gained widespread acceptance as a strategy to achieve global health objectives. Cooperation between digital health innovators, healthcare providers, public institutions and patient groups is key to ensuring the development of a digital healthcare system in which startups can provide the best possible care for patients. Combining the innovative potential of digital health initiatives with the public sector’s reach and private sector’s resources, can secure better health outcomes, increase healthcare systems’ capacity, and drive the digital transformation.

Launched in December 2021, the HealthTech Charter serves as a best practice repository of the most empowering policies and measures for digital health innovation across Europe. It provides an opportunity to shape Europe into a hub for digital health innovation and creates benchmarks to inform policy makers what innovators need to succeed. PPPs constitute the sixth topic explored in the HealthTech Charter, delving into partnerships that stimulate the development, funding, and uptake of digital health solutions. We take a closer look at examples of PPPs that have stimulated groundbreaking achievements in digital health. 

Denmark has a long history of public-private collaboration in healthcare. Private donations are made to innovation centres, research units and hospitals, while life science industries play an active role in developing innovative digital healthcare solutions. This has been seen in the case of Liva Healthcare, where Danish municipalities invested in this digital scaleup to provide their residents with access to a personal health coach. This multi-stakeholder partnership allowed Liva to scale its solution and partner with public healthcare organisations, industry-leading life science companies, and health insurers across eight European countries. 

Zooming out to the European level, the Innovative Health Initiative constitutes one of the largest public-private partnerships in the life sciences. Jointly funded by the European Union and industry partners, this PPP aims to create an EU-wide health research and innovation ecosystem that facilitates the translation of scientific knowledge into tangible innovations. It brings together diverse stakeholders, from universities to startups, in collaborative projects to promote breakthroughs in medical science. One such project is RADAR-Base, funded by the IHI and developed by startup The Hyve and King’s College London, the initiative has grown into an open source platform, used by over 40,000 participants. The platform integrates data streams from wearable devices & smartphones and stores, manages and shares the collected data with researchers for retrospective analysis. 

Today’s healthcare systems will be under ongoing pressure to increase the quality and efficiency of care, while simultaneously finding new ways to use data and innovation to focus on disease prevention. The shift towards more integrated health systems will require trans-sectoral collaboration offered by public-private partnerships, which serves as a promising tool to provide alternative methods of financing, infrastructure development and service delivery in health.